Date of this Version
Wildlife is a precious natural resource, and protecting wildlife populations is important for many people. Unfortunately, as animals become more abundant and adapt to living near people, they sometimes impact human safety, livestock, property, and natural resources. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services (WS) program responds to more than 200,000 human-wildlife conflicts each year. WS’ field specialists, disease biologists, and scientists help resolve these conflicts using a variety of science-based, selective, and socially responsible methods.
As the program works to resolve wildlife conflicts, it also focuses efforts on developing methods and approaches that can improve wildlife welfare. The National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) functions as the research arm of the WS program. Its mission is to apply scientific expertise to resolve human-wildlife conflicts while maintaining the quality of the environment shared with wildlife. NWRC scientists work in collaboration with WS fi eld specialists to improve wildlife welfare through the development and use of nonlethal wildlife damage management tools, such as scare devices, wildlife contraceptives, fencing, and repellents. They also work to ensure that lethal methods are selective—targeting those animals causing the damage—and are sensitive to animal welfare concerns. Approximately 75 percent of NWRC’s research budget is devoted to the development of nonlethal tools and techniques.